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Putin hopes Syria’s constitutional committee begins work by end of 2018

October 28, 0:01 UTC+3

The leaders of France and Turkey also expressed the same opinion

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Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

© AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

ISTANBUL, October 27. /TASS/. Moscow hopes that by the end of 2018 Syria’s constitutional committee will start functioning, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday at a news conference after the four-party summit on Syria in Istanbul.

"We hope that the constitutional committee will have been negotiated in full, in case of appropriate conditions, by the end of the current year and it will start working," Putin said adding that the Syrian National Dialogue Congress had passed a decision in Sochi to set up and convene this body.

The Russian president pointed out that afterwards, the issue was negotiated with both President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian opposition, which allowed making up two parts of the given committee - from the opposition and the government.

"Now we need to agree the third part with participation of public organizations and representatives of various public bodies," Putin said noting that the work was not easy, as each side would be striving to "fill this part with those people who they trust."

Putin emphasized that productive work is impossible without trust.

"Unconditionally, we should hold meaningful consultations both with the Syrian government and our partners in Iran, since without Iran, who as you know is country guarantor of the peace process and ceasefire as well as demilitarized zones, the issue will not be solved effectively," he said.

The Russian president pointed out that the work should be done in a calm and respectful tone towards the legitimate government of the Syrian Arab Republic to achieve the most tangible results.

He also said that the work to establish the Syrian Constitutional Committee should be thorough and competent so that all sides recognize this body, adding that Moscow viewed the launch of the Constitutional Committee as its top priority.

"At the same time, decisions made during the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi should be taken into account. A committee of this kind must certainly be recognized by all Syrian sides and have their respect. Only in this case this body will be viable and efficient and will be able to prepare and carry out the long-overdue constitutional reform that would strengthen the Syrian state and unite the Syrian society," Putin said.

"The work to form the committee will be serious and elaborate, and must be done properly," he added. "Russia, as a guarantor of the Astana process, will actively participate in it."

On January 30, the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, held in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, agreed to set up a constitutional committee that will be tasked with drafting a new constitution for Syria. The committee was supposed to draw on a pool of 150 names (100 names from the government and internal moderate opposition and 50 names from external opposition).

Common goal

 The presidents of France and Turkey also urged creating the Syrian constitutional committee before the end of the year.

"We call for completing the work to set up the Constitutional Committee of Syria by the end of the year," Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron said "this is what we all want."

"The constitutional committee needs to be established, and should hold its first meeting by the end of the year. This is what we all want," he said. "Creating it will become a part of the political settlement in Syria."

"It needs to be formed in order to prepare transparent elections monitored by the international community," the French leader added.

On Saturday, Istanbul hosted a four-party summit on Syria that was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

On January 30, the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, held in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, agreed to set up a constitutional committee that will be tasked with drafting a new constitution for Syria. The committee was supposed to draw on a pool of 150 names (100 names from the government and internal moderate opposition and 50 names from external opposition).

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